HART Audit Leaves Many Questions Unanswered
'Sanford Dole' Joins Akaka Tribal Roll
NYT In Hawaii: A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops
Tourist Boats Operated by Anti-Superferry Activists Hitting More Baby Whales Than Ever
Hawaii Perspectives Survey Shows Strong Support for Military Presence in Hawaii
Invasive Species Briefing Set
Senate Cttes Set Informational Hearing on Turtle Bay
OPEB, Pre-K and a 10% Reserve: Abercrombie Says we can Have it all
Schatz is 'Attention Whore'
Shapiro: ...all signs point to the Obama library going to Chicago, the president's adopted hometown and longtime political base.
This has our state leaders and University of Hawaii planners who have lobbied for the library pushing a Plan B that would involve offering Obama land for an institute that would serve as a secondary base of operations in his post-presidency.
"We really don't see it as an either-or proposition," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, one of many top officials backing the initiative. "We see no reason that the president has to be forced to choose between his two hometowns."
One iteration of the idea even had a residential component, which would essentially turn one of our most valuable pieces of public real estate into a vacation retreat for the Obamas.
With or without the residence, this idea is wrong on several levels.
We don't owe Obama a pricey post-presidential presence....
Most of us are proud that a native son was elected president, and we've given him more political support than any other state.
But Obama hasn't been seriously engaged with Hawaii since he left for college, returning only occasionally in the past 34 years to visit family and vacation privately.
He frankly told a local TV interviewer who tried to get some Hawaii pride out of him that Chicago is his home now, a reality we should observe.
Sometimes we in Hawaii are attention whores, willing to extend ourselves to ridiculous lengths to grab a little notice of dubious promotional value from the powerful and famous....
read ... Isles must halt desperate push for Obama's attention
Delegation 3-1: Only Hanabusa Mentions Akaka Tribe
The Star-Advertiser today is running New Year's commentaries written by each of the four members of Hawaii's Congressional delegation. Each lays out legislative priorities for the coming year, but in a sharp contrast from past years only Hanabusa makes any mention of the Akaka Tribe.
The same result occurred Dec 30 with Civil Beat: Hanabusa Alone Still Talking about Akaka Tribe
Here they are from today's Star-Adv:
As Tourism Declines from Peak, Same Sex Marriage has no Impact
KGI: Na Aina Kai Gardens is also a wedding destination and the number of visitor and local events has increased even during the downturn. The new same-sex marriage law has not been a factor
As Explained: $217M: Fake Bribe Offered to Hawaii for Fake ‘Marriage’
read... They were Lying
Lowell Kalapa: A defender of Hawaii's poor taxpayer
Borreca: When he was being candid, Lowell Kalapa, president and executive director of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, was unquotable.
While no newspaper's legal department would tolerate Kalapa's devastating characterizations of Honolulu's politicians and business elite, getting the lowdown from Lowell was always a treat.
Fashioning his quotes into something for a family newspaper took a bit of negotiating, but learning Kalapa's view on state financial policy, tax theory and practice was worth the effort....
"Not everyone liked what he said. Sometimes those blunt comments made our job when we were raising funds for the foundation more difficult," O'Malley admitted.
Even in Honolulu's business circles, Kalapa refused to bow to the influential if he thought they were not supporting valid tax policies.
"As a consequence, some positions he took put him in disfavor with some of the big guys in town. So I had great respect for him," said Henderson.
For instance, Hawaii is one of a few states that taxes all citizens, even those at the poverty level — something that former Gov. Linda Lingle tried to change and an attempt that Kalapa supported.
"We always say we are helping the poor, but we are taxing the poor," Kalapa said at the time. "Don't give me this about how we are here for the poor; give me a tax plan that is fair."
read ... Kalapa
OEL Outlines Plan to Coopt HSTA with Pre-K Scheme in DoE Schools
SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie is requesting that the Legislature expand the school readiness program to establish pre-kindergarten classes on Department of Education (DOE) campuses and fund family and child-interaction learning programs to provide engagement for 4-year-olds.
These programs will serve an additional 1,040 children.
The DOE proposal will cost $4.5 million to mainly fund staff, consisting of Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) and Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) members, who will implement a quality program for 4-year-olds with support from my office.
An additional $1 million is proposed for the family engagement program that will support providers in reaching families who do not choose to send their children to a program but still need support in preparing children for the demands of kindergarten.
An additional $218,000 is requested for the Executive Office on Early Learning to oversee the implementation of these programs.
I look forward to working with the HSTA, its members, the state Board of Education and the Legislature to turn this request into a reality, which will prepare our keiki for success in the transition to kindergarten and beyond.
As part of our ongoing collaborative efforts, we have also worked with the state Department of Human Services to increase the state portion of the co-payments for Preschool Open Doors by $2.5 million for families of four earning less than $67,725.
read ... Co-Opt HSTA
Questions Raised About 'Black Pellet' Energy Scheme
IM: Zilkha Biomass wants to sell wood pellets to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) for use as a fuel to generate electricity.
Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chair Hermina Morita said“she isn’t sure about the technical requirements and the costs associated with converting existing generators to burn the pellets.” Morita believes that the main issue is cost. “Will this resource be cost competitive?”
“This is exciting to us because much of the conversation to date has been about how renewables are great, but we need LNG to lower prices long term. To some it is almost fait accompli that LNG is our logical future fuel,” said Blue Planet Foundation Executive Director Jeff Mikulina. "Zilkha's — and similar company's — offerings can change the conversation. Here's something (Black Pellets) that not only is renewable and helps HECO comply with RPS (renewable portfolio standards), the EPA regs, and the state (greenhouse emissions) law, but it could be cheaper and available sooner than LNG.”
(Translation: Blue Planet green energy scammers hope to distract the public and the PUC with this phony 'Black Pellet' scheme long enough to rake in more tax money from wind farms.)
read ... Blue Planet asserts Zilkha Black Pellets are Green Energy
HECO: Giant batteries May Allow More Solar
SA: The project in West Oahu features a 1-megawatt lithium-ion battery that will be installed between HECO's Campbell Industrial Park substation and the distribution circuit that serves a variety of utility customers in the surrounding area. The circuit is highly saturated, with more than 3 megawatts of installed PV capacity, or enough power to serve the needs of 750 homes....
HNEI is a research unit at the University of Hawaii which receives most of its funding from the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy and the state. It will pay for the batteries being used in the projects. HECO and its neighbor island affiliates are paying for the interconnection costs.
HECO plans to have the West Oahu battery system in service by the second quarter of this year, said Peter Rosegg, a company spokesman....
On Molokai, HNEI is working with HECO subsidiary Maui Electric Co. on a 2-megawatt battery project that will address a combination of high PV penetration and relatively limited amount of conventional generating capacity that leaves the island's grid vulnerable.
Energy generated from PV panels can account for as much as one-third of the island's electricity consumption during certain times of the day. That generation is outside the utility's control. That means MECO has to maintain frequency stability across the grid when it has control over only two-thirds of the power being generated.
If a tree were to fall on a power line or one of the diesel generators were to shut down, there could be a situation in which all the island's PV systems would automatically disconnect from the grid. The utility may then have to quickly start up other generators to make up for the loss of PV power.
"We're seeing these issues sooner on Molokai than on other islands because of the small grid," said Mathew McNeff, director of renewable energy resources for MECO.
The Molokai battery project is expected to be operational "later in 2014," Rocheleau said.
On Hawaii island, HNEI and Hawaii Electric Light Co. put a battery system into place at the start of this year at a wind energy project in Hawi.
read ... Giant Battery
Assaults Occur Because Law Allows Lunatics to Run the Asylum
SA: An assault on a hospital worker occurs every three days, Hee noted....
One underlying problem with the assaults is in the interpretation of the law.
If an individual is ruled insane by the courts, there is no standard "order to treat" such a patient with medication, despite the patient's irrationality and violence, Hee said. (In other words, the patients can stop taking their meds any time they want.)
The hospital takes a position that it requires a court order.
Hee said he has been working to clarify the statute with a state Judiciary administrator who is revisiting the statute and discussing it with the circuit judge in charge of orders to send people to the Kaneohe facility.
Hee said that the profile of the criminally insane has changed over time.
"Many are psychotic because of drug abuse, and many of the males have a background in mixed martial arts, so the workers would assert the population is violent," he said.
read ... Every Three Days
Let's be clear about limits of drone use
Star-Adv Editorial: Hawaii's potential role in drone development already sparked the beginnings of a discussion at the state Capitol, one that deserves more attention in the coming session. Republican state Sen. Sam Slom last year introduced Senate Bill 783 aimed at the privacy concern. This measure, as well as other vehicles tackling the issue of drones, should get a hearing in the coming weeks.
SB 783, which was co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Russell Ruderman and Malama Solomon, seeks controls on state and local government agencies using the unmanned vehicles for data collection, making exceptions for emergency situations or if a warrant or court order is secured. Slom said a new draft of the bill with some clarified language is being finished this week.
"I'm not conspiratorial or paranoid; I'm not against drones," he said. "I'm just saying because we do have the NSA fiasco, because we do have secret government operations, if our state government regulates our businesses, they darn well better regulate what law enforcement and government is doing."
That's undoubtedly the right frame of mind lawmakers should bring to the table — and it doesn't preclude considering, at the same time, legislation that promotes the positive developments the technology could bring Hawaii.
read ... Droning On
Pflueger Demands State Cut off Water to Ka Loko Farmers He Flooded
KGI: For months now, James Pflueger has been requesting that the Department of Land and Natural Resources stop state water from entering his property at the Ka Loko Reservoir in Kilauea — the site of a dam breach in 2006 that killed seven people.
On Nov. 19, Pflueger wrote what he called his “last letter” to DLNR Chairman William Aila.
“I have sent you pictures with the problems of the Ka Loko ditch and irrigation system and it’s all been for not,” he wrote. “I have asked you repeatedly to remove your water because I do not want to be responsible for the condition of the system.”
Several sources told The Garden Island that the DLNR is considering — and came close to — shutting down the 3-mile-long Ka Loko Ditch, the reservoir’s primary source of water.
If the ditch is decommissioned, Kilauea Irrigation Co. owner Tom Hitch said the reservoir would dry up, leaving dozens of residents and farmers downhill without water. KICO owns an 18-inch pipeline that takes water from the reservoir and delivers it to farmers in Kilauea Farms Agricultural Subdivision.
“The first people to be adversely affected will be the numerous customers that use KICO’s pipeline, many of whom are organic farmers,” Hitch wrote in a letter to Aila and Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “These farmers depend on Ka Loko’s water for their livelihood.”
read ... Pflueger's Hubris has no Bounds
YMCA suspends child care programs in Hilo
HTH: The nonprofit organization in Hilo suspended its child care programs last year while facing a $400,000 deficit.
As a result of the cuts, Bobby Stivers-Apiki, who took over as interim CEO on Wednesday, told the Tribune-Herald the YMCA is down to four staff positions.
“We had maybe 25 at one point,” he said.
read ... Child Care?
TEA Party Maui plans to present 2 speakers
MN: Featured speakers for a Jan. 9 Tea Party Maui forum will be William Keli'i Akina, president, and Dick Rowland, chairman/founder, of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii....
The forum will take place at Kalama Heights Garden Room, 101 Kanani Road in Kihei, at 6:30 p.m., with a meeting to follow. The public is invited.
read ... TEA Party
Enviros Work to Save Snails Their Bio-control Scheme is Destroying
SA: Another villain is the rosy wolf snail, introduced as a biocontrol in the 1950s. The cannibal snail was brought to Hawaii by state agriculture officials in hopes of battling the giant African snail, which was imported to the islands as a potential food source but never won acceptance and escaped into the wild only to ravage agricultural fields.
Unfortunately, the rosy wolf snail bypassed the larger, tougher-skinned snails in favor of the delicate native Hawaiian snails.
"It's a really depressing story," Sischo said. "Our little Hawaiian snails are like tasty snacks."
read ... One Control Foils Another